Issam Michael Fares is a prominent Eastern Orthodox Christian Lebanese businessman, a former member of the Lebanese Parliament and Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon.
Now 80, he is the former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, as well as a multibillionaire entrepreneur.
In 1954, at the age of seventeen, Fares left his homeland and found a job as a clerk at a catering and food services firm in Qatar. Two years later, he was heading Abela Group’s finances and subsequently managing its operations in Pakistan, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
At age 38, Fares went into business for himself and established a civil engineering and construction firm, which completed many notable projects including the world's longest international bridge, which connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.
He then sold the company to British Aerospace, and used the proceeds to buy up Houston-based investment firm, Wedge Group, a company that he heads today.
In the general elections of 2000, Fares won the seat of Akkar, the first district of the North Lebanon. He served as deputy prime minister of Lebanon from 2000 to 2005. Prior to that his career spans four decades in the Persian Gulf, specifically Saudi Arabia, where he began with Abela Catering and then Ballast Needam. By the early 1970s Issam Fares was playing a key role in the infrastructure buildout of Saudi Arabia, including roads and housing.
The Fares Lecture Series, The Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, both at Tufts University, and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB) are named after him. He operates the Houston, Texas based WEDGE Group.
Issam Fares owns one of the 200 largest superyachts in the world, the Wedge Two. It has a length of 65m (213’25”) and was designed by Philippe Starck. It was built in 2002 in the Netherlands.
Fares is married to Hala Fares.